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Development Squad

Damien delighted to clinch Cottagers clash

Johnson pleased to see much-changed side produce another positive performance

3 February 2018

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Damien Johnson hailed the consistent characters in his squad, as Rovers Under-23s moved back to the top of the PL2 table courtesy of a 1-0 victory away to Fulham.

Lewis Mansell scored the game's only goal midway through the first half, capitalising on a Tayo Edun error to slot past the Fulham stopper.

The game saw Darragh Lenihan make his comeback from a lengthy injury lay-off, with the Irishman coming through 60 minutes unscathed, whilst a number of youngsters from the club's Academy once again impressed.

"I'm very pleased," said Johnson. "Fulham are a decent side and it's a tough place to go.

"We had to make some changes, with Darragh and some young lads coming in, but I was really pleased with how they went about it.

"Fulham started the game brightly and it took us a while to get to grips with their formation, but after about 15-20 minutes I felt we were comfortable and always looked a threat.

"I was really pleased with our shape and our pressing, which got us the goal.

"In the second half, we had chances to kill the game off, with Joe (Rankin-Costello) blazing over the bar from about six yards out, whilst Andy Fisher was never really tested, other than from a couple of free-kicks.

"Darragh got through 60 minutes and looked good. He was a bit tired towards the end, but came off fine, which was very pleasing.

"We had a couple of first year scholars on the bench and Frank Jones came on for his debut.

"John Buckley played at right wing-back, which is an unfamilar position to him, but he showed his intelligence and his ability."

Rovers were without the likes of Lewis Travis and Willem Tomlinson, who both travelled down to Plymouth with the senior squad, as well as defensive duo Scott Wharton and Matty Platt, but Johnson was delighted to see his much-changed side extend their unbeaten league run to 10 games.   

"It's testament to the quality and characters we have in the group," he added.

"As players step up to the first team, the lads who come in, the regulars help them through it and they maintain our principles and style of play.

"It's a good sign for their development that they can adapt and adjust to changes, but still produce positive performances and results."

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